Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saving a post if Blogger's Publish button doesn't work

This article is about how you can save a  post even if Blogger's Publish button won't let you save your work.

Imagine you've been working on a Blogger post for several hours.    It's finally ready: you've got the wording exactly right, everything is formatted with bold, italics and bullet-points, your pictures and links are all correct, etc.   

But then your internet connection stops working.   Or you click the Publish button - and get a message like  "Post cannot be saved due to HTML errors".   You can't work out how fix the problem, and you need to stop working on it now!

This may seem like a disaster - hours of work wasted.

But luckily there's a very easy way to save your work, and tools to help you diagnose problems.

Saving your work and recovering it later

How to save the post that you have written

  • Switch to HTML mode (this is a tab at the top left corner of the editing window. 
  • Select all the text in the window (Ctrl / A does this in most browsers)
  • Copy it.
  • Go to somewhere outside of Blogger that you can save text:
    Perhaps a text-editor like Notepad, or a plain-text formatted email message.   Even a word processor like MS Word can work, provided you remember to save your file as text.  Or you may want to use a source code editor - see the section below about fixing code errors.
  • Paste in the contents that you copied earlier.
  • Save the file.
  • Switch to Compost mode (this is optional - I usually recommend it so that you don't get confused the next time you come back to Blogger and see the "funny codes")
  • Exit the Blogger post-editor by closing the window - say "ok" if the system asks if you really want to leave the page without saving. 

Recovering your work later on

This is the reverse of what you did to save the work:   open the text file, copy the contents, go to Edit HTML mode in Blogger and paste them in.

You should then be able to go in to Compose mode, and see the post as it was when you stopped working on it.

At this point, if the HTML is ok and you have fixed the issues with your internet connection, you can Publish your post.

Fixing problems with your HTML

If there are problems with the HTML, then you need to find them, and fix them.    Usually, fixing them is easy, once you've found them - but the finding can be  hard if you have a large and complicated post.

Sometimes Blogger will tell you what the problem with your HTML is, and show where it's happening by putting the "wrong" code into reverse text when you try to Publish it:  this makes it easy to see if you scan through the HTML for the post.

However sometimes Blogger doesn't show you where the problem is - I've noticed this more often recently when using IE 9.0 on complex posts.   Instead you get an error message like
Your HTML cannot be accepted: Closing tag has no matching opening tag: SPAN
or whatever the specific problem is, but none of your code is highlighted. This can make it hard to track down and fix the problem.

A low-tech way to find the problem is to paste the code from the saved file into Blogger's Edit HTML window in smaller sections, and Publish to work out if the problem is in the code that you just pasted:  if everything in the first section of code can be published, but there is an error message for the next part, then you know what section the error is in.

A major disadvantage of this approach is that you need to publish the post many times, and the first time it will definitely not be "finished".   this is OK if you use a pre-publication blog to prepare your posts, but if you don't do that, it can cause your RSS subscribers to form a bad impression of the quality of your posts.

A better option is to use a source-code editor like Notepad++ (free, Windows only) or XMLSpy (30 day free trial, far more complex code editor), which has tools to help you find and fix problems with your code.

Related Articles

Get your posts right before you publish them for all to see

What is RSS and why it matters for your blog

Getting the HTML to put a picture into your blog

Putting text and pictures alongside each other

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  1. Great post, a tip that probably doesn't occur to a lot of people. After Blogger went down in May, I got in the habit of saving an HTML backup of all my posts. I'll probably never need them, but it doesn't hurt. Love your blog.

  2. Thanks. It's one of those ideas that seems so obvious once you realise, but probably won't think of at the time.

  3. I don't seem to be able to publish nor save any of my new posts, do not understand the ways discribed in your help corner..., is there no way you at Blogger can fix this for me, by me just sending you my account adress, and code?!
    this is costing me a lot of agrivation...!!

    yours truly,

  4. Are you using IE9?

    If you are, you may need to use the compatibility view for publishing depending, on which version of blogger you are using. It's in tools on the IE menu bar or look for a button on the toolbar like a torn piece of paper.

  5. I think the post saved automatically in blogger?

  6. I've had this problem off and on for several years. Quite frustrating, to say the least. I may have found a temporary solution that works. After I clear my cache and blogger history, I try to keep posts under 1,000 words with a minimum of pictures. That seems to work. I divide longer posts into separate articles, each being less than 500-600 words. Ever since I've done this step, I haven't had a publishing error. I don't know if Google limits post length, but if it does, it should tell us before we have to go through the HTML editing and pasting routine. It's enough to make you go elsewhere, such as wordpress, tumblr, medium, or wix. I'm not a happy camper.

  7. Yay! This fix worked for me, thanks for the detailed instructions. So very frustrating to complete a lengthy article, insert pictures, and then not be able to publish!

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